Great Britain

Meghan Markle praised for speaking out on 'heartbreaking' return to US in authentic speech

Meghan Markle, 39, made her latest appearance at Fortune's Most Powerful Women Virtual Summit on Tuesday in which she was invited to speak about "humane tech." However, the Duchess also shed new light on an emotional speech she gave to high school students graduating in Los Angeles soon after the death of African American George Floyd sparked Black Lives Matter protests across the US.

Responding to Fortune's Senior Editor, Ellen McGirt's mention of the powerful speech, Meghan explained the process by which she came to give it.

Meghan said: "I think it's about being authentic.

"And if you look back at anything that I've said it's really interesting because what often ends up being inflammatory seems to be people's interpretation of it.

"But if you listen to what I actually say, it's not controversial."

READ MORE: Meghan Markle slams trolls and celebrates 'freedom' in new speech

Meghan Markle

Meghan Markle praised for opening up about 'heartbreaking' return to US in 'authentic speech' (Image: Getty/FORTUNE)

Meghan Markle

Meghan Markle: Meghan spoke at Fortune's Most Powerful Women Virtual Summit (Image: Instagram)

Meghan added: "And actually some of it is just reacting to things that just haven't happened, which is, in some ways I think you have to have a sense of humour about it even though there is quite a bit of gravity, and there can be a lot of danger in a misinterpretation of something that was never there, to begin with.

"But that again is a bi-product of what is happening right now for all of us.

"I would say the biggest thing and what I have always stuck to, you know, that high school graduation speech - I had done it a week or so before.

"I pre-taped it for them, it was for 17-year-old girls right, so the tone and the sentiment, while of course, it was going to be a call to action, was certainly lighter than where we landed after the murder of George Floyd."

The Duchess added: "I knew I couldn't use that tape and I really struggled if I'm being honest about what to say.

"And I didn't sit down and write anything and I didn't ask anyone for help with how I should word this.

"I was just in tears thinking about it and I was explaining it to my husband about why I thought it was so heartbreaking.

"Certainly for me to be back in Los Angeles and it feeling so reminiscent to the state of Los Angeles with the riots after the Rodney King beating."


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Meghan added: "And so for these girls to be graduating from high school which should be a very celebratory time to be plagued with that unrest felt troubling to me.

"So I just spoke from the heart and that's probably why that doesn't look polished and that's why that doesn't feel perfect but that's also why it's authentic."

Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams has praised Meghan's highly 'authentic speech'.

The expert told "It is interesting to hear Meghan, an extremely articulate public speaker, explaining the rationale behind her very moving recent speech to those graduating from the Immaculate Heart School which she once attended."

Meghan Markle

Meghan Markle: The Duchess explained the heartbreak she felt following the death of George Floyd (Image: Instagram)

Mr Fitzwilliams added: "She is asked about the 'powerful forces (who) try to take you down' and she mentions her memories of the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles when she was 11, linking them to the murder of George Floyd and her support for the Black Lives Matter movement as she did in the speech.

"She talks about the importance of 'being authentic' and that is how, when discussing topics such as diversity and gender equality, she comes across."

Mr Fitzwilliams seemed to hint Meghan could be heading for a future in US politics.

He said: "As she focusses on her own moral compass who knows where, in the bitterly divisive America of today, it will lead someone as committed as she is."

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